Utility Comparisons with Monk

90 Pandaren Monk
4810
Obviously, this rant needs a TLDR:

Windwalker damage is mediocre.
Windwalker self-utility is decent, though Rogues are better.
Wndwalker group utility is just bad.
Windwalker doesn't bring enough buffs/debuffs.

In short, a Rogue or an Enhancement Shaman is always, ALWAYS, the better choice when you are looking for an Agility melee spec. Monks who are not healers and tanks are basically doing it wrong.


I propose that WW Monk has too little utility. Lets do some utility comparisons.

Lets start with buffs/debuffs. We're going with PVE only, so ignore the healing and cast speed slow debuffs, as those rarely, if ever, come up or are important in PVE. Damage reduction is also inconsequential as all tanks bring this debuff, so any DPS that brings this isn't getting much benefit out of it generally (except perhaps in the odd situation where a DPS tanks an add).

Buffs/Debuffs among all melee DPS classes:

Winwalker Monk: Stats, Crit
Frost/Unholy DK: Attack Power, Attack Speed, Physical Damage
Feral Druid: Armor, Stats, Crit
Ret Pally: Stats OR Mastery, Physical Damage
Rogue: Attack Speed, Armor, Spell Damage
Enchancement: Hero/lust, Attack Speed, Mastery, Spell Power
Arms/Fury Warrior: Attack Power OR stam, Armor, Physical Damage

Windwalker and Ret bring the same number of buffs, realistically (2). However, since Rets can choose between Stats or Mastery, they are actually much more flexible and useful for a group than Windwalkers in this department. Every other melee spec brings three buffs/debuffs, and Enhancement brings four.

An interesting side-note about stats: This buff is often covered by tanks and healers. Paladins and Druids are two of the most common classes in the game, and all of their specs cover this buff, including tanking and healing. Monks cover this buff as tanks and healers as well, further pressuring Windwalkers into tank or healing roles.

All ranged specs bring 3 buffs/debuffs as well (and Elemental brings four), except for Shadow. So Shadow and Windwalker are roughly equal in the fact that they bring only 2 buffs/debuffs.

How about non-buff/debuff utility? You could break this up into two groups: self-utility (things like personal CDs, mobility, etc) and group-utility (things like devotion aura).

Lets look at melee primarily, since that is where Windwalker is going to be competing for spots the most and it helps pare down the information a bit. Disarms, because they are not often useful, and Snares, because they are nearly ubiquitous among melee thanks to the game having issues detecting range between characters in PVP, are ignored.

Off-healing = nothing remarkable except being able to cast a weaker version of some of their healing spells while specced DPS.

More impactful healing utility will be listed by name.

Self Utility (I'll try to list abilities that have much more impact over the whole group in the "group utility" section):

Winwalker Monk: Roll (can be a threat drop), Flying Serpent Kick, Dampen Harm/Diffuse Magic, Zen Meditation, self-healing, Touch of Karma, Fortifying Brew
Frost/Unholy DK: AMS, IBF, Blood Presence, self-healing
Feral Druid: Symbiosis, Survival Instincts, level 90 talents allowing role-switch, tranq, Bear form
Ret Pally: Divine Protection, 1 min magic protection, self-healing, gap closing (its iffy but its there), Righteous Fury
Rogue: Cloak of Shadows, Evasion, Feint/Elusiveness, Shadowstep, Vanish (threat drop), self-healing
Enchancement: self-healing, Shamanistic Rage
Arms/Fury Warrior: Charge, Heroic Leap, Shield Wall, Defensive Stance

Windwalker looks decent here. They have 3 abilities that overlap, however - ZM, level 75 talents, and Touch of Karma all essentially do the same thing. There's several specs (like Rogues) who are better at the job (of taking reduced damage) with only 1 or 2 abilities. The list looks long, but only because WW makes something that could be simple, complicated.

Basically, WW has the mobility of a Warrior, the self healing of a Paladin (not quite as good, but close), and the defensive CDs of a DK (probably slightly better, just not as good as a Rogue).
Edited by Ramayana on 4/14/2013 10:56 AM PDT
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90 Pandaren Monk
4810
Group Utility:

Winwalker Monk: Friendly disease/poiosn dispel, "AOE Grounding Totem"(Zen Med), short range CC, 2 AOE stuns, off-healing, taunt, interrupt, nimble brew
Frost/Unholy DK: AMZ, silence, taunt, Death Grip, Army of the Dead, Battle Rez, interrupt
Feral Druid: Tranq/healing from level 90 talents, taunt, cyclone, sleep, Battle Rez, interrupt
Ret Pally: Devotion Aura, Hand of: Salvation, Sacrifice, Purity, Protection, Fist/Hammer of Justice, interrupt, repentance, friendly disease/poison dispel
Rogue: Smoke Bomb, Tricks of the Trade, interrupt
Enchancement: Healing Rain, Healing Stream Totem, Ankh, Stormlash Totem, better interrupt
Arms/Fury Warrior: Crit Banner, Rallying Cry, Shockwave Stun, interrupt

Here's where Windwalker falls flat. Windwalker has a long list of utility, I'll grant you that. The problem is most of them are very, very situational. Stuns don't affect bosses, so they're only useful on fights with adds that can and should be stunned. This ability isn't often consequential (last time it was truly difference making was on Sons of Flame on Rag).

Poison/Disease Dispel? Horridon, yes. Last tier? no.

CCs Blizz has tried time and again to make useful in PVE since BC 5 mans, but they have yet to succeed. Besides, Paralysis is your worst choice because of its short range. At least it has a short CD...oh wait, Polymorph and Fear have no CD? Never mind.

Off-healing - its nice, but you bring healers to raids for a reason.

Taunt - generally a bad idea, and if you brough a tank to a raid, you probably already have this. Useful once in awhile, though.

Interrupt - we've only recently convinced Blizz to actually let us use this, thanks to energy costs. Thank you, PVP windwalkers, for being terrible!

Nimble Brew - what's this? You can get this ability on almost any class as long as you roll human, the most common race in the game? Nice to have if you're Horde, I guess.
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90 Pandaren Monk
4810
Most of these I'd put in the "useful once in a long while" category, or "useful, but a healer or tank can do it just as well" category. A lot of the problem here is probably Zen Meditation. Windwalkers would be much more useful if Zen Meditation was actually helpful (say, redirects 20% of all raid damage to the monk for 8 seconds or something). Remember we have to channel this as well, unlike, say, Devotion Aura. Lets take a look at Ret:

Rets big thing is defensive utility, I realize this, so this might be an unfair comparison BUT:

Devotion Aura. This is huge. This is essentially a free healer CD. Tranq from Feral is similar I suppose but absorbs are generally better than healing, and its instant to boot. Best DPS utility ability in the game, period.

Hands. Ret brings an additional tank CD and a physical damage CD that is often used to clear MAJOR debuffs, often trivializing mechanics.

On top of that, they still bring things like Stuns and CC that Windwalkers bring.

Bring a Ret. Get at least 3 "Get out of Jail, Free" cards.

Lets do a more reasonable comparison: Rogues.

Windwalker has better mobility and self healing than a Rogue, its true. Rogues however, make up for that and more with Feint. What amounts to at least 30% damage reduction with no CD. You just can't compete with that. What's that? You're going to die with only 30% up? no problem, Cloak of Shadows is only on a 1 min CD (that makes it slightly better than all the defensive CDs WW has put together, by the way).

Blizz recently allowed Smoke Bomb to become a sort of short range Devotion Aura with 20% damage reduction for allies inside the cloud. Zen Meditation just doesn't hold a candle to that.

You can add Tricks of the Trade to the list. It doesn't help with damage reduction, and its not used as a threat helper as much as it used to be, but it will still make another DPS' day really good! This is helpful for meeting enrage timers.

Remember, also, that a Rogue brings 3 buffs/debuffs and Windwalker only brings two. So when a Raid Leader is looking at their group, and they can choose between a Rogue and a Windwalker, what do they see?

Increased mobility and self healing, or:

One more buff/debuff, extra raid damage through tricks, better survivability, a 20% raidwide damage reduction CD, better damage (maybe that will change in 5.3 but I doubt it).

The choice seems pretty clear, especially in heroic modes. In some ways, I think Windwalker Monks are suffering from a lack of design space because the "lets add a new class that can do all three roles, but their DPS spec is melee agility" expansion and the "hey Rogues, who can only DPS as melee agility, are low in population" expansion happened at the same time. Monk DPS can't be too good for fear of completely edging out Rogues, while Monk tanks and Monk healers don't have the same design constraints.

Lets go back to Shadow again, shall we?

Shadow and Windwalker both bring 2 buffs. Relatively equal.

HOWEVER, Shadow brings incredibly useful utility with it: 1 healing cooldown (vampiric embrace) along with a 5 min tranqulity (if they get symbiosis). They also bring Mass Dispel, which has proven to be pretty huge in PVE time and again, thanks to it essentially being a friendly magic dispel from a DPS, which is HUGE. Purge doesn't hurt either. There's also that little fact that Shadow does damage at range (the game will be much better once the developers acknowledge that being melee is a disadvantage almost 100% of the time in PVE).

So what does a Windwalker Monk bring to the raid? Mobility (equaled or surpassed by a Warrior, approached by most melee except DKs, possibly Ret), defensive CDs (surpassed by a Rogue), 1 fewer buff/debuff (one of which is brought by healers and tanks anyways), and no group utility (unless we're talking Horridon, and Mistweavers are better for that anyways).

I understand that utility can be a subjective topic, but I think we can all agree that raid-wide damage reduction or healing is much, much more useful than stuns or disease/poison dispel.

Doing good damage just isn't enough (and in 5.2, we don't even do that reliably).
Edited by Ramayana on 4/14/2013 10:52 AM PDT
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100 Blood Elf Paladin
22155
WW are fine. There are things that I'd like to have such as a healing debuff, more sustain dps and a few other things but we don't and reason because of this is to have each class be unique or at least try to be.
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90 Dwarf Hunter
16315
Guess that's why they're giving them a +10% damage buff on the PTR. If you don't bring utility, you should do better than mediocre damage. Otherwise there's no point in bringing you. Hunters are in the same spot. Windwalkers have to compete with Rogues, Warriors, and Death Knights who bring a ton more damage and actual raid utility.
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90 Pandaren Monk
4810
WW are fine. There are things that I'd like to have such as a healing debuff, more sustain dps and a few other things but we don't and reason because of this is to have each class be unique or at least try to be.


The healing debuff has absolutely no effect in PVE (and even if it did, its copied several times over in your average raid).

Sustain/Burst doesn't usually become an issue in PVE unless we're talking short burst phases - which do come up fairly frequently - but Monks are actually a lot more like Ret now. A lot of our damage comes under Tigereye Brew (and if your raid ever pops Heroism/Bloodlust in the first 20 seconds of a fight that really hurts Windwalker).

Hunters are in the same spot.


Oh, no. Deterrence has such a short CD, and Hunters can actually bring every buff in the game, and most of them if you avoid speccing Beast Mastery. Hunters have ridiculous utility (especially in a 10 man). We actually run 3 Hunters in my raid fairly often because of how good they are at covering buffs/debuffs with pets, and how good they were for fights like Heroic Will of the Emperor.

Hunters have great utility. It might be less useful in 25s, but they still have incredible utility.
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90 Worgen Hunter
7415
The devs are so paralyzed in fear of making monks out to be Death Knight 2.0 that they'd rather the players wallow in mediocrity than balance them properly. It'll probably stay that way until they have a post mortem pow wow, collectively decide it was the worst part of the expansion, and then do it right. Until then you'll get needlessly complicated mechanics with absurd gotchas that other classes do in one form or another, and do it better.
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90 Pandaren Monk
4810
The devs are so paralyzed in fear of making monks out to be Death Knight 2.0 that they'd rather the players wallow in mediocrity than balance them properly. It'll probably stay that way until they have a post mortem pow wow, collectively decide it was the worst part of the expansion, and then do it right. Until then you'll get needlessly complicated mechanics with absurd gotchas that other classes do in one form or another, and do it better.


This is part of it. I really think the other part of it (and why, relatively, Brewmaster and especially Mistweaver have found a lot better acceptance in the current raiding structure than Windwalker) is that Rogues have been the 'special project class' this expansion thanks in part to their low population, and since WW and Rogue occupy a pretty similar spot, its hard to give anything to DPS Monks right now without worrying that it will just completely obsolete Rogues.

Brewmaster and Mistweaver also do a lot better because its just so much easier to slot a tank or a healer than it is to bring another melee. Melee are hard enough to bring in this game.
Edited by Ramayana on 4/14/2013 2:49 PM PDT
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90 Pandaren Monk
LA
15580
The thing is rogues will -never ever- will be, or have been obsolete. They have historically done too much damage or had too many niche abilities that made them useful to be set aside for something else. If the population is low it is not the fault of the class' abilities but rather that people would rather play something that has fewer buttons to worry about or (as I've heard complained about many times) don't like the combo point system.

The monk population overall is tinier than the rogue, and that is including the nonwindwalker folks. They either need to boost our damage, or give us some kind of untility that makes us more than watered down rogue wanna-bes.
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90 Pandaren Monk
4810
The thing is rogues will -never ever- will be, or have been obsolete. They have historically done too much damage or had too many niche abilities that made them useful to be set aside for something else. If the population is low it is not the fault of the class' abilities but rather that people would rather play something that has fewer buttons to worry about or (as I've heard complained about many times) don't like the combo point system.


Idk about obsolete, but they've definitely been low population for quite awhile. The legendary daggers in DS propped them up a bit, but they were already low in population at that point. There's been points where their DPS has been bad, and they only just got real utility this expansion (Smoke Bomb and serious buffs/debuffs in the spread).

Monk low population is partially due to the fact that you have to level from 1-90. Still, we don't bring much to the raid besides ourselves, and that's not helping things.
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90 Pandaren Monk
LA
15580
They had one tier in Wrath that was awful, but that's about it as far back as I'm able to remember. I didn't play in vanilla, so I can't speak for that era. But really as soon as they got cloak in BC, I recall a good number of niche jobs they were able to perform that no other class could. Plus they were being stacked at the end because their damage was ferociously high, rivaled only by destro locks. Wrath they gained some moderate debuffs and ToT. Cata they acquired some more utility with ToTs range being extended, smoke bomb blocking certain spell effects in pve, and again very high damage once late t14 was reached =/.

Yes our pop is low due in large to the leveling requirement, but between boas and the exp boosting daily it wouldn't be particularly difficult if we brought anything at all unique or at least solidly useful to the table.
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